A new prepaid counter for autorickshaw started functioning at Mangalore Central Railway Station on Monday. The station did not have the service for the past two months.

The new counter, which is one of the two counters funded by Corporation Bank, will be manned by Karnataka Rakshana Vedike Autorickshaw Drivers’ Association. They will use two hand-held devices, provided by the Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry, for issuing challans showing the fare and also the autorickshaw number.

“We want to erase the bad impression about autorickshaw drivers,” said the association’s president Jayaprakash Shetty. A committee of seven autorickshaw drivers have been formed to oversee the functioning of the counter. “To start with, we will continue with Re. 1 as service charge. Decision about revising the service charge will be taken by officials if it is found unviable,” said association’s treasurer Pundalik Nayak.

Prepaid autorickshaw service was started at the Mangalore Central Railway Station and KSRTC Bus Stand at Bejai on October 2, 2011. Mangalore Association for Travel Agents was given the task of operating the two units for one year. Though the association could operate smoothly at the railway station, it found difficulty in running the counter at KSRTC Bus Stand for want of staff. The counter at the stand is not operating now.

The travel agents’ association operated Mangalore Central Railway counter till December 2012. It was not operational from January, 2013.

In a meeting on March 21, it was decided to permit the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike’s Autorickshaw Drivers Association to operate the new counter at Central. A similar counter would come up at Mangalore Junction Railway Station, which will be manned by the Bharat Mazdoor Sangh’s Autorickshaw Union.

The Rakshana Vedike Association held a function on Monday to inaugurate the counter. “We have problems in using the hand-held device as names of the areas entered in the device are not in an order. We are planning to have a chart to help the device user,” Mr. Shetty said.

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